Our body is said to be made up of, about 60% water. Water -the “Elixir of Life” – happens to be the second most vital necessity, next to air, for our body, to stay alive, the third being food. Life scientists say that our body can go without air for 3 minutes, without food for 7 days and without water for 3 days only. Beyond this point the body will begin to collapse. Our body needs water and electrolytes for almost every bodily function and for the smooth functioning of its` various systems, like, regulating body temperature to expelling waste and toxins, lubricating joints to maintaining muscles, controlling blood pressure to maintaining heart rate, and from carrying oxygen to the cells to helping in metabolism.
Hence, it is vital that we keep our body adequately hydrated (besides breathing and feeding it), for it to be hale and healthy, alive and kicking. And, to keep our body well hydrated we have to provide it with sufficient, of its` daily quota, of water. Besides water, our body also needs electrolytes (mineral salts) the rehydrating salts like potassium, sodium, magnesium etc., along with other nutrients, which we get from the liquid and solid foods we consume.
Mother nature has made it easy and fun, I mean, providing water to our body, by packing lots of water into the foods, like vegetables and fruits, that we eat every day. Hence, we need to drink only 80% of our body’s daily need of water and the remaining 20% of water comes from the liquid and solid foods that we drink and eat.
Health experts recommend that women need to drink about 10 to 12 cups of water (about 2.5 liters) and men need to drink about 12 to 15 cups of water (about 3 liters) per day. For those who exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 16 to 20 ounces of water, at least, four hours before exercise and 3 – 8 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise, especially in hot weather.
Our body gets dehydrated when it loses more fluids than it absorbs. Our body throws out fluids through breathing, sweat, urination, defecation, in order to expel wastes, toxins and other harmful substances . We need to keep replenishing all that fluids, our body keeps losing through the day, to keep it well hydrated and function normally and optimally.
So, when you are thirsty and feel dehydrated, a tall glass of plain water is the first thing your body craves for and the best thing also, to quench your thirst and rehydrate your body. However, there are many other natural alternatives that are equally good and some even better, in the many foods, especially fruits and the vegetables, that serves the purpose of rehydrating your body and prevent dehydration.
Here are 17 such foods that keep you well hydrated:
1. WATER MELON: A 2009 study at the University of Aberdeen medical School found that the combination of salts, minerals and natural sugars in some fruits and vegetables can actually hydrate people more effectively than water or even sports drinks. Watermelon was on top of the list with its’ 92% water content and essential rehydration salts like calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. It is also rich in iron.
2. ZUCCHINI: with 95% water content, it is one of the most hydrating vegetable . A healthy serving has less than 25 calories and is an excellent source of foliate, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and B, calcium, iron and magnesium. It is best consumed raw – in pasta salads, zucchini noodles etc.
3. TOMATOES: are packed with 95% water. A study by the department of Food Sciences at North Carolina University says that tomatoes are the second most produced and consumed vegetable. It is also rich in lycopene, beta-carotene, foliate, potassium, Vitamins C & E and flavonoids. It helps fight cancer and improves heart health.
4. CELERY: Crunchy celery is 96% water, but it also provides mineral salts, amino acids, Vitamins A,C & K , foliate and fiber, that research shows, may hydrate your body better than water.
5. RADISHES: contains 95% water and is often overlooked. They are rich in anti-oxidants.
6. CABBAGE: Green contains 93% water and red 92% water. These are rich in Vitamin C, K,& B, foliate, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium and more.
7. CUCUMBER: at 96% water content it is at the top of water logged fruits and vegetables. It is rich in vitamins C, K, B6, and minerals like copper, potassium, manganese, and it helps avoid nutrient deficiencies. It helps in skin care also.
8. LETTUCE: Iceberg lettuce contains 96% water – less in nutrition. Romaine and Butter head lettuce are slightly lesser in water content but are rich in foliate, vitamin C and beta-carotene.
9. BELL PEPPERS: All the four colored bell pepper (i.e.green, yellow, red & orange) contain 92% water. They are rich sources of the best nutrients like vitamin C, B6, beta-carotene, folic acid and thiamine.
10. BERRIES: Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries – all these berries contain about 92% water and are rich in anti-oxidants, ellagic acid, vitamins , minerals and fiber.
11. RAW BROCCOLI: Contains 91% water besides lots of vitamin C, fiber and calcium.
12. CANTALOUPE: This richly flavored, popular melon contains 90% water and less calories. One cup of cantaloupe provides 103.2 % of the daily value for vitamin A & C.
13. PINEAPPLE: contains 87% water and is rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Besides, these exceptionally juicy fruit is packed with the enzyme bromelain, a mixture of compounds with potent anti-inflammatory power that help to fight against cancer and prevent new cancer cells from forming.
14. CARROTS: contains 87% water and is rich in the anti-oxidant beta-carotene, than any other vegetable and fruit. Studies have found that compounds in carrots help protect against skin, lung, and oral cavity cancers.
15. RAW SPINACH: is packed with 92% water. It is the best food to fill up on during your weight shedding regimen. One cup provides more than 50% of daily vitamin A needs and is also rich in vitamin C, protein and fiber.
16. YOGHURT: has a substantial amount of potassium, sodium and calcium. It can replace water and electrolytes that is lost, immediately.
17. ORANGES: are very juicy fruit. It is considered as a heavy duty among fruit juices. It contains 87% water. It is sweet and sour and contains more than 100% of the daily recommended value for vitamin C.
Some of the signs of dehydration are extreme thirst, dry mouth, muscle cramps, lightheadedness, headache, dark and less urine, lack of tears while crying, and some of the severe symptoms are rapid heart beat, low blood pressure, constipation delirium and even unconsciousness. Severe dehydration needs prompt hospitalization.